The 12" MacBook revisited

I recently visited Europe for two weeks, and I used my 12” MacBook for the entirety of the trip. When I returned and picked up the MacBook Air that I use for work, it felt like an alien artifact. The changes that I noticed in particular:

  • The scissor keys look downright weird and cheap compared to the butterfly mechanism used in the 12” MacBook. They’re still faster to type on though, and that’s more important.
  • Going back to non-retina is a brutal exercise in eye strain.
  • The silver color of a MacBook Air looks comically bright compared to the 12” MacBook’s more somber Space Gray.
  • The bezel around the screen of the MacBook Air feels incredibly wide and wasteful.
  • Not having to choose between power and plugging in a peripheral (on the MacBook Air) is so convenient.
  • MagSafe is still on my list of greatest notebook innovations of all time.

The keyboard and color in particular are a little like the perspective that you feel when switching from an iPhone 4 to 5 or 5 to 6. After using the larger screen for a few weeks, the older phone just starts to look stunted and strange. It’s incredible how quickly that happens considering how long you may have used the previous device. Before the 12” MacBook, I hadn’t used anything but various iterations of the 11” MacBook Air for more than four years.

Conspicuously lacking from this list is any noticeable difference in thinness or weight. In my mind, those are already so far into the “trivial” end of the spectrum for both devices that I hardly notice the relative difference.

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